Rajat Sharma

PM Modi will surely miss the absence of Arun Jaitley

akb2307 It has been five days since the passing away of Arun Jaitley, and I am still unable to believe that his mortal remains have been consigned to flames and the ashes immersed in the Holy Ganga river in Haridwar. On Tuesday when Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on his return from foreign visit, visited Jaitley’s house and met his grieving family members.

Modi stood silently with folded hands in front of Jaitley’s picture, and his eyes were moist. I do not know how he would have held back his tears, but I do know that Narendra Modi and Arun Jaitley were close friends. They always used to be together during moments of joy and sorrow. Their relationship was never that of a minister and a prime minister. It was a relationship bonded in brotherhood and affection.

I remember Arun Jaitley lying on his hospital bed watching news on TV about Modi meeting Chinese President Xi Jinping. Arun’s eyes were bright and he told me, “Look, how my friend has risen due to sheer hard work. Modi Ji is today among the four top leaders of the world.” Arun’s eyes brimmed with pride on seeing his friend Modi achieving the pinnacle of glory. And, on Tuesday, Modi looked sad watching his friend’s picture on a lifeless portrait.

Modi Ji is an emotional man and he gives the highest importance to personal relationship. Few people can fathom the depth of his pain after the loss of a friend, but being a ‘karmayogi’, he, like Arun Jaitley, believes in carrying on with his duty. I know that Prime Minister Modi will surely miss the absence of Jaitley both in his personal and public life.

All of us, in our own way, are trying to carry forward the legacy of Arun Jaitley, and as a symbolic gesture, in my capacity as president of Delhi and District Cricket Association, I announced that the stadium at Ferozeshah Kotla, will be renamed as Arun Jaitley stadium. Arun was DDCA president for 13 years at a stretch, and during this period, he got the entire stadium renovated. The capacity of the stadium was increased and the dressing room and players’ room got a new look. The Ferozeshah Kotla cricket ground will continue with the old name.

It was because of Arun Jaitley’s encouragement and guidance that players of the calibre of Virat Kohli, Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Ashish Nehra, Ishaant Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, and Rishabh Pant came on the national stage.

The renaming of the stadium will be done on September 12 in the presence of Team India captain Virat Kohli and his players. Union Home Minister Amit Shah will be the chief guest, and cricket players of repute will attend the event.

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